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Congregational Development training seminar set for Hawaii

By Daphne Mack
11/14/2006
[Episcopal News Service]  For the fourth consecutive year, the Episcopal Church's Office of Congregational Development, in partnership with the Episcopal Church Building Fund (ECBF), will offer congregational leaders a four-day training seminar designed to heighten self-awareness and skills required to lead congregations in times of change, transition and conflict.

"Upward Bound: Leading Congregations through Change, Decisions, and Conflict" is set for February 5-8, 2007 in Honolulu, Hawaii.

"We wanted to help leadership learn how to be a self differentiated leader, standing separate from the conflict, able to view it, and understand what dynamics are at force," said Sally Dresser O'Brien, vice president of ECBF.

During the training participants will:

• Learn how to examine a conflicted situation and their place in it;
• Explore their awareness of how they receive approval and support;
• Understand the different levels of needs and their implications for congregational behavior;
• Distinguish between problems that are theirs and others’;
• Develop skills to stop participating in destructive games and negative cycles;
• Increase listening and feedback skills for clarity rather than inference or judgment; and
• Renegotiate relationships after conflict has erupted.

The Rev. Charles N. Fulton, III, director of Congregational Development and president of ECBF, said Upward Bound will offer "practical skill development and discernment" to help the leader neither ignore nor become immersed in conflicts, "but to become a constructive presence in the midst of turmoil."

Fulton and Jackie Stradley, president of Stradley Advisory Services, will serve as the seminar presenters.

Fulton, coordinator of the Church’s response to the 20/20 resolution that aims to double the membership of the Episcopal Church by the year 2020, also co-chairs an ecumenical network of church growth leaders, and supervises the work of research, stewardship and ministry to new and small congregations.

Stradley is a communications and management consultant who has worked with the leadership of Coca Cola and Starbucks.

O'Brien stressed that the seminar is "not just for a congregation in a crisis."

"It really is for personal development and leadership," she said. "[Basically] holding yourself together when diverse opinions clash. Having the skill is a gift that the leader gives to the people that they are calling together."

The cost of the seminar is $695 which includes tuition, four nights’ lodging, and eight meals.

Space is limited to 36 registrants. Visit http://www.episcopalchurch.org/congdev or call 800-334-7626, ext. 6003. Registration ends January 2, 2007.

"We hope that people who attend Upward Bound will walk away with a greater sense of calm about being in conflicted situations," O'Brien said. "They will know that, as the leader, they will be able to help read what is really going on, understand the different ways that different people might be emotionally involved in conflicts, and what strategy might be helpful to reduce the conflict."